Ark of taste
Back to the archive >

Lúra is the name of the European plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) fished in the southeastern fjord called Hornafjörður. It is dried and eaten as a snack or boiled and used in meal preparation. The small lúra is not uncommon on the coasts in Iceland but it is specific to the area of Hornafjörður because of the shallow and half fresh waters that allow the fishing by coastal small boats. Lúra is only used as a food supplement in the region of Hornafjörður.   It is important to note that the usual name for Pleuronectes platessa in Icelandic fisheries is skarkoli or rauðspretta and it is one of the most common species fished by trawlers or liners in the Icelandic waters. The name lúra applies only to the species that is exclusively fished by the small boats able to sail on the shallow lagoon. This is a smaller, purely local fish population. The Lúra is caught in fishing nets placed in the current channels in the fjord. Photos exist from the 1960s and today showing how little the fishing methods have changed through the years. Fishing takes place during the summertime.   Lúra is caught in the brackish waters of the lagoon were powerful glacial rivers meet the North Atlantic Ocean. The inhabitants in Hornafjörður have fished and processed lúra for centuries, and the knowhow has been carried on from one generation to the next to the present day. Lúra was a considerable food source well in to the 20th century and was quite common in most households in the region. The fishing and processing methods today are the same as centuries ago, except for the use of motorboats instead of the rowboats.   Lúra is processed or cured in many different ways. There is tradition for consuming Lúra boiled, fried, dried and pickled in sour whey. Fresh Lúra is often boiled or fried and is considered a delicacy. It is also traditionally been dried for winter consumption. The Lúra is spread out to dry, first on its dark side, then on its white side. When the skin is dry on both sides the fish is thread on a string and hung in a shed to dry completely.   Most of the lúra is caught and landed by the families living close to the lagoon of Hornafjörður and sold in the local shops around Höfn in Hornafjörður for local food products. It has been developed with an explanation leaflet to sell to the visitors and tourists as a “food souvenir” and has been quite popular. However, due to the seasonality and limited nature of this product, its future is uncertain. The fishing and processing methods today are the same as centuries ago, but the fishing and the food tradition is at risk of fading away with new generations.

Back to the archive >